How To Water Your Pilea Properly
Updated: Jun 29
Your Pilea needs just the right amount of water to grow and thrive. If you overwater it, you will drown out the roots and put your plant at a higher risk for mold growth, pests, and other problems. If you don’t water it enough or in the wrong way, the plant will stop growing, and you may see shriveled leaves. If you want to know how to water your Pilea properly, check out the following guide.
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How to Tell If Your Pilea Is Dry
If you are a new or even a first-time plant owner, you may assume that all plants need lots of water. However, this is a misconception that can lead to flooding, poor plant growth, and a host of health issues.
The "2-inches test"
This simple and effective test is the most popular way to tell if your Pilea is actually dry or not. The “2-inches test” involves testing the soil of your plant an inch down with your finger, a stick, or a similar object that can be pushed into the soil. If the soil is dry for one inch, but moist past that inch, then your Pilea does not need to be watered yet. However, if the soil is dry for that one inch and beyond, then the soil is actually dry, and your plant needs to be watered.
If you prefer, you can use a soil moisture gauge, a great tool for those who tend to overwater. It's inexpensive (it costs less than $20) and extremely easy to use. You just insert it directly into the soil, and the display will tell you whether it's dry, moist, or wet.
Different environments, different needs
A plant’s watering needs are not constant. Depending on your home environment and on the season, your Pilea will have different watering needs.
During the summer, your Pilea may require frequent watering; in the colder months, you will need to slow down, while still providing constant moisture around the plant.
The Best Watering Technique: Bottom Watering
In addition to knowing how often to water your plant, you will also need to know how to water your Pilea in the most effective and plant-friendly way.
Most people who are new to growing plants don’t realize this, but the way that many of us learn to water plants is incorrect!
Watering your plant from above with a canister and pouring or sprinkling the water over the leaves and down into the soil is actually not an effective way to water plants. In fact, this type of watering can lead to insufficient water intake as well as increase the chances for problems such as pests and even certain fungi development.
Instead, water your plants from the bottom – it will allow the plant’s soil to soak up as much moisture as it needs. This way, the moisture goes directly to the roots and into the soil where it can be fed upon, rather than getting stuck on leaves or the top of the soil.
There are three different ways to water a plant from the bottom. You can try them all and see what works best for your plant. Just make sure the pot has drainage holes before starting!
The saucer method is simple. Place your Pilea inside a saucer (or bowl) filled with water and leave it there. The soil will soak up the moisture through the pot or planter’s drainage holes. After 30 minutes, remove the plant from the water and let it drain.
The soak method requires using more water and keeping a closer eye on your plant. Place your Pilea in a large container full of water, such as a sink or tub, so that the water level touches the top of the pot. Let the plant soak; at some point, bubbles will appear on the surface – once they stop (after a minute or so), you can remove the pot from the water. This method is best if you have lots of plants, as you can place them all in the tub or sink at one time.
Self-watering Pot Method
A self-watering pot will allow your plant to get the moisture it needs gradually, when it needs it, without requiring you to fill up any saucers or tubs with water. This method is ideal if you find yourself forgetting to water frequently or if you won’t be home for a while.
Use The Right Kind Of Water
If you use a specific type of water for a while and your Pilea seems to be suffering, it’s probably time to make a change.
Keep in mind that chlorine and fluoride contained in city water might be too much to handle for Pilea, and that tap water may be too alkaline. In this case, fill an open container and let the water sit for about a day – it will allow the chemicals to evaporate.
Even better, you can place a container outside to catch rainwater, (don't choose this option if you live somewhere that has acid rain). Melted snow is also a good option! In any case, always use lukewarm water.
Always Place A Drainage Pan Under The Pot
You can either purchase a plastic pan specifically designed for plants or use any plates or saucers. Make sure to empty the drainage pan within a half hour or so after watering! If you forget to drain the pan, your Pilea will be soaking in too much water.